Abdullah Shafique was closing in on another half-century at stumps on day two of the deciding Test as Pakistan made a strong start in reply to Australia's 391 all out at Gaddafi Stadium.

Cameron Green (79) and Alex Carey (67) frustrated Pakistan in the heat on Tuesday before Naseem Shah (4-58) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (4-79) prevented the tourists from going beyond 400 in Lahore.

Pat Cummins dismissed Imam-ul-Haq cheaply, but an unbroken stand of 70 between Shafique (45 not out) and Azhar Ali (30no) took Pakistan on to 90-1 at the close - trailing by 301 runs.

Carey and Green took Australia from 232-5 at the start of play to 320-5 at lunch, bringing up their half-centuries as the Pakistan attack toiled.

Nauman Ali ended a sixth-wicket stand of 135 by trapping Carey bang in front and Naseem cleaned Green up with an excellent delivery. 

Australia lost five wickets for 50 runs, with Afridi removing Mitchell Starc and making a mess of Mitchell Swepson's stumps after the impressive Naseem bowled Nathan Lyon.

Imam (11) was snared lbw by Cummins off balance in the 12th over of Pakistan's reply to end an opening stand of 20, while Shafique was fortunate to edge between Carey and Steve Smith in the slips.

Azhar clattered Lyon down the ground for six and Shafique ticked along nicely in great batting conditions.

Cummins wasted a review for an lbw shout against Azhar as Pakistan put a frustrating start to the day behind them.


Pakistan's young pace duo fire after Carey and Green stand

Green and Carey gave Australia just the start they were looking for, but Pakistan's young pacemen fired in the afternoon session.

Teenager Naseem and 21-year-old Afridi bowled with a combination of pace and reverse swing as they cleaned up the tail in quick time.

Naseem was not selected for the second Test but he will surely be a mainstay for years to come, while Afridi has already proven he is a class act time and again.


Rock-solid Shafique 

The composed Shafique has been a revelation for Pakistan at the top of the order and the opener laid solid foundations once again.

Having made a 134 and 44 in the opening match of the series in Rawalpindi before falling four short of a century in the first innings in Karachi, Shafique will be eyeing three figures again.

Alex Carey fell seven runs short of a maiden Test hundred as Australia punished Pakistan on the second day of the second Test at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The tourists reached stumps on day one with a healthy score of 251-3 and inflicted further pain on their opponents by making it to 505-8 by the end of play on Sunday.

Usman Khawaja was responsible for 127 of those runs on day one and looked good value to reach a double hundred after adding another 27 runs unbeaten before lunch.

However, Islamabad-born Khawaja – who has strong family ties to Karachi – was dismissed soon after for 160 from 369 balls by Sajid Khan.

Travis Head was earlier trapped by Sajid for 23 off 48, with a review showing the ball just clipped leg stump, while Nathan Lyon was bowled by Faheem Ashraf for 38.

Australia were 360-6 after losing Khawaja, but Cameron Green (28) and Carey put on 45 before the latter was bowled by Nauman Ali.

Carey looked untroubled alongside Mitchell Starc (28 not out) as he powered towards triple figures, only to be dismissed by Babar Azam on 93 shortly before stumps.

"I guess you want to make those triple figures," Carey said at the end of play. "I think the way the game's going, it was quite an important knock in the end.

"Hopefully tomorrow we see what the skipper does but it's great to have 500 runs on the board."

Decision time for Cummins

After two full days of batting, Australia skipper Pat Cummins must decide whether to declare early on on Monday, as many would expect to be the case.

Pakistan have plenty of work to do if they are to avoid a first defeat to Australia in nine Tests at the National Stadium in Karachi.

Carey keeps Australia in command

Carey was disappointed to miss out on a century, but he still recorded his biggest Test score in what is his seventh outing, his previous highest being 51.

But Khawaja's mammoth 160 – consisting of 15 fours and one six – will be extremely tough to top, the 35-year-old having now notched 257 runs in this series.

England fell to pieces in a day-four Ashes collapse as Australia ruthlessly wrapped up the opening Test by nine wickets behind Nathan Lyon's historic performance.

Australia celebrated a comprehensive victory at the Gabba, where England lost eight wickets in the morning session to set the hosts just 20 runs to win, which they scored post-lunch with the loss one wicket.

Lyon had become only the third Australian bowler to reach 400 wickets as England capitulated all out for 297 in Brisbane on Saturday – the spinner leading his nation's charge with 4-91.

England emerged on the fourth day with renewed hope after Joe Root and Dawid Malan mounted a fine rear-guard on Friday – the pair's stance leading the tourists to 220-2.

 

But England's revival quickly diminished as they crumbled and were eventually all out before lunch – losing eight wickets for just 77 runs.

Lyon sparked the collapse in the fourth over of the day, the milestone man got Malan (82) to edge onto his pad for Marnus Labuschagne to take a sharp catch at silly mid-off with the second new ball approaching, snapping a 162-run partnership.

Root added three runs to his overnight score before he fell to Cameron Green (2-23) and Ollie Pope (4) followed his captain back to the pavilion the very next over after attempting to cut a Lyon delivery, instead punching to Steve Smith at slip.

Australia sniffed blood and England simply had no answer as Pat Cummins (2-51) and Josh Hazlewood (1-32) got the wickets of Ben Stokes (14) and Jos Buttler (23), with Lyon cleaning up the tail, alongside Green.

After lunch, Marcus Harris (9 not out) hit the winning boundary to clinch Australia's victory following Alex Carey's dismissal for 9.

 

Lyon joins exclusive club

Before Lyon, only Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) had taken 400 wickets or more for Australia. The spinner joined the club after finally ending his quest for the milestone, having waited almost a year. Lyon became the seventh spin bowler to take 400 wickets in men's Test cricket.

Carey makes history

The Gabba opener marked a Test debut for wicketkeeper Carey, who stepped in behind the stumps after former skipper Tim Paine opted to take a break from cricket. Carey capitalised, marking his bow with eight catches – becoming the first player in Test cricket to achieve the number on debut.

Australia will be expected to ensure normal service is resumed in the heat of an Ashes battle at the Gabba when they start a new era on Wednesday.

The Tim Paine sexting scandal presented Pat Cummins with the opportunity to become the first fast bowler to captain the Australia Test side.

Cummins was appointed less than a fortnight before his side start their defence of the urn against fierce rivals England, with Steve Smith his assistant as Paine takes an indefinite mental health break from cricket. 

The paceman has long since been talked of as a potential successor to Paine and gets his chance earlier than expected.

Cummins was already on a high from playing his part in Australia's maiden T20 World Cup triumph in Dubai last month and should thrive on the extra responsibility of being skipper.

Australia have not played a Test since they were consigned to a 2-1 home defeat to India in January and although England have had plenty of action in the longest format this year, poor weather in Brisbane has badly hampered their preparations.

Stats Perform picks out some of the storylines, sprinkled with some Opta data, from an Australia perspective before one of the great sporting rivalries gets under way again.

 

Cummins to get Australia going?

Cummins has led Australia's pace attack on many occasions and was the pick of the bowlers in a 2-2 Ashes series draw in England two years ago, taking 29 wickets at average of 19.62.

Since the start of 2018, no bowler has claimed more scalps in the longest format than the 28-year-old's 128 - which have come at 19.9 apiece.

Cummins, the number one Test bowler in the world, will no doubt be licking his lips at the prospect of ripping into what has been a fragile England batting line-up.

Josh Hazlewood will also pose a huge threat and Mitchell Starc will be out to silence critics such as Shane Warne, while Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser show Australia's strength in depth in the pace ranks.

 

Gabba no longer a fortress?

Australia had not lost a Test at the Gabba for 33 years until India's famous victory in January.

Joe Root fanned the flames last month by stating the hostile Brisbane venue is no longer such a "stronghold" for Australia.

It has most certainly not been a happy hunting ground for England, who have only won four of 21 Tests at the stage for the curtain-raiser for the series. The tourists' last Test win at the Gabba came in November 1986.

England have not won a Test in Australia since January 2011, losing nine and drawing one of their previous 10 contests, and they will be braced for a barrage of pace when they start their quest to regain the urn this week.

 

England must find an answer to Smith and Labuschagne 

The England bowlers had seen more than enough of Smith by the end of the 2019 series.

He racked up 774 runs at an average of 110.57 from seven innings, reaching three figures on three occasions and scoring a sublime 211 at Old Trafford.

The former skipper broke his own record for number of runs in a Test series in the 21st century. Only the great Don Bradman (19) and Jack Hobbs (12) have more Ashes centuries than Smith's 11.

Marnus Labuschagne was also outstanding in England two years ago, averaging 50.42. He has been a revelation at number three and will have a big role to play.

 

Australia in safe hands with Carey?

Alex Carey will take the gloves and make his Test debut at the Gabba in the absence of Paine.

Carey has plenty of experience at the age of 30 and has 83 international white-ball experiences under his belt.

He comes into his Test bow on the back of making a timely century for South Australia against Queensland in the Sheffield Shield and has a chance to cement his spot in the side.

Alex Carey is set to make his Test debut in the Ashes opener between Australia and England in Brisbane next week.

Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday announced Carey will replace former captain Tim Paine as wicketkeeper in the team for the first two Tests, starting December 8 at the Gabba.

Debutant Carey will be behind the stumps after Paine – who stood down as skipper having been embroiled in a sexting scandal – took a leave of absence from all forms of cricket for the "foreseeable future".

"I am incredibly humbled by this opportunity. It’s an exciting build-up for what is a huge series ahead," Carey – Australia's one-day international wicketkeeper – said in a statement

"My focus is on preparing and playing my part in helping Australia secure the Ashes.

"This is also for my dad who has been my coach, mentor and mate, my mum, my wife Eloise, kids Louis and Clementine, my brother and sister and all of those who have supported me. I will be doing my absolute best to make them and our country proud."

Carey has averaged just 21.85 runs over eight innings with the bat in the Sheffield Shield, though the left-hander has been a consistent performer over the years.

The South Australia star has averaged 59.64, scoring four centuries in nine matches.

Pace pair Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have fired Australia to a 133-run Duckworth-Lewis victory in the opening One Day International (ODI) of the three-game series against the West Indies in Barbados on Tuesday.

Player of the Match Starc claimed 48-5 from eight overs while the economical Hazlewood finished with 11-3 from six overs as the tourists responded after their 4-1 T20I series defeat.

Missing captain Aaron Finch, the Australians had managed 252-9 from 49 overs with the bat, led by stand-in skipper Alex Carey's 67 and Ashton Turner's 49 from 45 balls.

Leg-spinner Hayden Walsh continued his good form with the ball, taking 39-5 for his maiden ODI five-wicket haul.

Australia turned the game with the ball, with Starc dismissing opener Evin Lewis caught and bowled first ball, while Jason Mohammed (two), Darren Bravo (two) and Nicholas Pooran (duck) did not last long either.

Starc and Hazlewood took three wickets each as the West Indies slumped to 27-6 inside eight overs, before captain Kieron Pollard's lone rearguard.

Left-arm quick Starc had Pollard caught by Turner for 56 from 57 balls, effectively ending the resistance with Walsh last to fall to Adam Zampa with the West Indies 123 all out.

POSITIVE DAY FOR AUSSIE DEBUTANTS

Australia got the response they wanted after a disappointing T20I series, even with three ODI debutants in the side; Wes Agar, Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott.

The Aussies were also missing captain Finch, but first-time captain Carey showed his composure and quality with his steady knock after Australia had been in some trouble at 114-4 at the halfway mark.

Starc said about Carey: "He's pretty calm and collected today. He did fantastic with the bat.

"If he had any nerves, that probably helped him settle down. It's nice to get him a win in his first game as captain and three young fellas on debut."

Australia have long struggled in the shortest format but are much more adept in 50-over cricket as five-time World Cup winners.

POLLARD DEMANDS FOR 'FIGHT'

Australia's quicks dominated the early overs with the ball, decimating the West Indies' top order leaving captain Pollard scratching his head.

The West Indies' top five combined for a total of 15 runs, as Starc and Hazlewood bowled brilliantly, while normally reliable all-rounder Jason Holder also fell for a duck.

"The biggest thing is I want our guys to fight," Pollard said. "The ball was swinging but we can't just give it away. The most disappointing factor for me is we didn’t show that fight.

"We have to find a way to get through that first six to 10 overs when the ball is actually moving a lot and see where that takes us."

When asked about Starc and Hazlewood's spell, Carey simply said "wow". He added: "I probably haven’t seen a powerplay like that before."

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